There is a large network of public trails on Gabriola, which GaLTT publicizes through its printed brochures and trail maps, and through the interactive map on this website. The interactive map describes 25 walks you can take on Gabriola's public trails and beaches.
Breaking new trails
GaLTT work parties break new trails in locations approved by parks departments according to their official management plans, or through trail licence agreements with private owners. Trails are also developed on unused road allowances, which can be located with the help of the RDN, Islands Trust, and BC's Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MoTI).
Maintaining trails—ways you can help
GaLTT maintains the public trails in walkable condition. Regular work parties keep them clear, trimming back surrounding bushes and branches, and removing fallen trees. You can help maintain our trails by joining some of our regular (usually bi-weekly) work parties. You can use your own tools or borrow GaLTT's.
The happy group above helped to build one end of the Petroglyph Way Community Park Trail (behind the United Church) several years ago in GaLTT's early days.
Where trails cross muddy areas or approach valuable wetlands, GaLTT consults with land-owners and park planning departments, and send in work parties to build boardwalks like this one built recently over a muddy area in Wise Acre Woods (photo courtesy Keith Poulton).
You can also help maintain our public trails by using them responsibly, staying on the trail, and avoiding damage to surrounding areas. You can also report poor conditions to GaLTT, such as quagmires, fallen trees, or overgrown brush, so that our teams can go in and improve them.
Recent work parties—boardwalk building, trail maintenance,
and daphne & broom pulling
In the past year GaLTT work parties and Commons volunteers have continued to work around the island pulling invasive broom and daphne. GaLTT volunteers also helped with the landscaping at the new clinic. A crew also met up at Gray Road to deal with the Evans Road "mystery trail" to the beach—so overgrown with blackberry and other invasives that its location had become a mystery.
Crews pulled nails and sawed boards from Don and Mary Butt's old sundeck. Randy says: "Don's deck has produced 216 three-foot boards, which would give us 108 feet of walkway." More of the Butts' decking had already been used earlier in the year for boardwalks in the Commons and in Sally Robinson's woods.
This picture shows GaLTT volunteers at work on the boardwalk that is part of the llicensed trail through Sally Robinson's Woods to Islands View Drive (between Cooper and Thompson). Randy says they had to: "…haul in concrete blocks, stringer frames, and decking." They used portable electric drills to assemble the boardwalks.
Trails not open to the public and/or not included on GaLTT's maps
Many well-used and beautiful trails on Gabriola (some of them old logging roads) do not appear on GaLTT's trail maps, which often puzzles trail-walkers. This is because the trails either run across private land or through land held by the Federal Government and earmarked for treaty negotiations with local First Nations. Such lands often have "No Trespassing" signs.
In answer to GaLTT's request to include the trails through Elder Cedar Nature Reserve (which is owned by the Islands Trust Fund, ITF) on our lovely new trail maps, Kate Emmings, who is an Ecosystem Protection Specialist for ITF said:
"Trust Fund Board…does not restrict public access in its Nature Reserves. We do, however, try not to advertise them so that the use is kept light. In the case of the Elder Cedar Nature Reserve, we also have some concerns about advertising trails that lead off the property onto Crown Lands."
In its drive to achieve public trail connections all the way between Descanso Bay and Drumbeg Parks, GaLTT continues to negotiate with private land-owners, the Snunéymuxw First Nations, and Government departments for public trail access, but urges trail users to respect these notices in the meantime.